Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Too polluting

Construction and operation of the proposed Third Runway will create soil and air pollution hazards.

The Third Runway Major Development Plan acknowledges these hazards but includes no plan for avoiding them.

A recent study, “A review of health effects associated with exposure to jet engine emissions in and around airports” concluded that “exposure to aircraft emissions induce pulmonary and systemic inflammation, which potentially contributes to cancer, asthma, respiratory and coronary heart disease.”

The Third Runway Major Development Plan addresses soil pollution issues in Part B – Airport, specifically, Chapter B3: Soils, Groundwater and Waste (p. 65). And air pollution issues in Part B – Airport, specifically, Chapter B10: Air Quality (p. 521).


Air quality

• The Third Runway MDP does not clearly state the extent of air pollution from Third Runway flights that will impact airport-adjacent communities. Air pollutants can include hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter (see Aviation exhaust pollution, air quality, and impacts on Human Health – Melbourne Airport 3rd runway expansion).

• The MDP fails to address the health impacts from this pollution on these communities.

The health study, promised by Melbourne Airport, that may or may not include an assessment of these impacts, has not been made public, preventing any peer review.

The MDP contains no plan to adequately protect airport-adjacent communities from ultra-fine particulate matter from aircraft engines.

PFAS contaminated soils

PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are manufactured chemicals used in products that resist heat, oil, stains and water. They are used in fire-fighting foams, including at airports.

Melbourne Airport operates on Commonwealth land. And, on this land, the Commonwealth has not established a safe process for managing PFAS contaminated soils — handling it, storing it and rendering it safe.

The Third Runway Major Development Plan includes no PFAS management plan either.

The MDP contains insufficient detail on the management of PFAS contaminated soils and other pollutants.

Melbourne Airport has provided no information to the public, particularly to those communities around the airport, on the impacts of the works to remove the PFAS contaminated soil — not the number, frequency or hours that trucks will be active.

Melbourne Airport proposes developing management processes for PFAS after the MDP has been approved, during the runway construction.


• The MDP should not be approved until it includes a management plan for PFAS contaminated soils that avoids a repetition of the management plan for contaminated soil at the Westgate tunnel project, which resulted in contaminated soil being dumped as landfill near airport-adjacent communities.

Melbourne Airport needs to release its promised health study, for public comment and peer review.

An independent assessment of the health impacts of Ultra Fine Particulate pollution from Third Runway enabled flights, on runway-adjacent communities, needs to be undertaken.


Atmospheric pollution

April 2014: Investigation of an association between childhood leukemia incidences and airports in Texas

Ultra Fine Particles

19 April 2023: Class action lawsuit filed against Port of Seattle, Alaska Air Group and Delta Airlines over toxic airport pollution

11 February 2022: Concerns over ultra fine particles from aircraft


Ultra Fine Particles

UECNA (European Union Against Aircraft Nuisances) Webinar No 11 on Ultra-fine particles from aircraft